Has human evolution ceased? Medical argument that it has; behavioural argument that it hasn't; now thoroughly out-of-date discussion of Lamarkism.
The medical argument seems wrong to me; it's only been valid (generously) ~200yrs. We face the complete failure of antibiotics and an impending Malthusian population crash with attendant resource wars in the near future. Hence the timescale is way too short to say evolution of the species has permanently ended. Meanwhile stone-age Amazonian tribes remain oblivious to modern technological survival advantages and exposed to many selection pressures, anyway.
I'm never quite sure how to review short story collections, so bear with me. These stories all share a sense of unease and creeping dread, which is something I enjoy in my ghost stories. There are plenty of spooky ghosts, unsettling scenarios, and narratives that leave your skin crawling. They have a feeling of tapping into urban legends and traditional folk tales (though I don't know enough about Vietnamese culture to say whether that is accurate or not). The connective tissue that holds these stories together is a different ghost though - the specter of the Vietnam War looms in the background of all of these stories, grim and devastating.
I enjoyed this collection, and it satisfied my spooky October itch, but it never fully blew me away. I couldn't really say why other than it's really hard to wow me with shorter fiction. I will say many of the stories share a similar structure and part of that structure includes abrupt endings. This didn't bother me, per se, but it did start to feel repetitive when reading the collection straight through. I think I might have enjoyed it more if I had spaced the stories out in between other fictions. All in all this is a solid collection, and I'm glad I read it. If you're looking for ghost stories with a Vietnamese flavor these will likely satisfy.
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Dr. Wesley Britton,
Author, The Beta Earth Chronicles